Being accepted to the prestigious photography program at Rochester Institute of Technology fulfilled a decade-long dream for California native, Liz Kaufman. "Photography was all I cared about by the end of high school," she says. "It was a passion of mine that only grew with support from my family and friends."
It was during her time at RIT that Kaufman -- who continues to work exclusively with film ("I don't even own a digital SLR," she says) -- truly honed her skills in the darkroom, producing images with a natural beauty and quiet, sun-soaked mood.
"I'm still not really sure if I have a 'style,'" laughs Kaufman, who attributes much of her passion for photography to her father's habit of snapping every significant milestone in her life. "My family says they see my style and some of my friends do too. I guess I don't see it, and I probably never will."
She is certain, however, about what she likes to find behind the lens. "I know that I love photographing people," she says definitively. "I love natural light. I love man-made environments." Which goes a long way towards describing her portfolio, filled with candid images of young girls seated at their breakfast tables, family members on a park bench, or natural scenes from her hometown.
"I hope that when I photograph people, I can make them comfortable enough to forget that I'm holding a camera up to my face," says Kaufman. "There should be nothing separating you from photographing that person. That's how Richard Avedon photographed as well -- he became part of the action and allowed that person to feel incredibly important for the few minutes, or hours they spent in front of the camera."